Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Heart of darkness
OmegaMom is severely bitchy today. Severely. Do not come near her, or say the wrong thing, or even have the wrong expression on your face. She will either go into hysterical rantings, or think longingly of using pliers on people's finger and toenails. (She may even speak longingly of such things.) There are some lucky women who have no real experience with PMS. They have no understanding of either the "I feel like ants are crawling all over my body and anything you say or do or even think is like a saw on my nerves" homicial mania, or the "the world is black, everything is worthless, and if I were to leap off this bridge right now, no-one would miss me" suicidal depression. OmegaMom has even heard that some women claim there is no such thing. Here's a quote from a bulletin board: "I'm seriously convinced that there is no such thing as PMS. I think it is just another excuse for women to be rude, catty, and even slightly violent to people who always get on their nerves (but they've never had the guts to tell them before). *For the record, I AM female*" Then there's this quote, from the article Is PMDD real?: Some feminist psychologists like Caplan believe that the language surrounding PMDD is misleading and that its classification as a psychiatric disorder stigmatizes women as mentally ill and covers up the real reasons of women's anguish. "It's a label that can be used by a sexist society that wants to believe that many women go crazy once a month," Caplan explains. OmegaMom would deeply like to apply those aforementioned pliers to those particular women's extremities. To a smoker who has tried to quit smoking, or a heavy alcoholic who has tried to quit drinking, the "ants are crawling all over my body" description and the hair-trigger response should be very familiar. It is, in OmegaMom's viewpoint, a clue: this is a manifestation of withdrawal from some type of chemical dependency, NOT brainwashing by a male-dominated society. Here's a very cute graphic depicting the menstrual cycle. Pay particular attention to the drop in progesterone, coupled with (and masking) a similar drop in estrogen. OmegaMom's theory is that women who suffer from severe PMS are particularly sensitive to chemical changes in their bodies. OmegaMom, herself, has a problem with many drugs--typical doses for people her size are too high--she responds quickly and thoroughly to drugs such as codeine and vicodin, and regularly uses less than the amount prescribed because of some bad experiences when she was young related to that typical-for-her-weight dosage. She hypothesizes that the drop in estrogen and progesterone which precedes the monthly bleed trigger withdrawal symptoms in women like her. It would be interesting to see if such women also are more likely to be addicted to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, or exercise. There is evidence that women who suffer from severe PMS are much more likely to suffer from post-partum depression, and depression in general. For the record, it ain't PMS for OmegaMom, she has passed the magical "one year" mark and is officially menopausal now. But the hormonal swings are still there sometimes; the only thing she can thank the Kozmik All for is that they're not there every three and a half weeks. The bad thing is that, since they're not tied to any rhythm any more, the mood swings are hard to predict and hard to counteract once you're in them (if you can look at your calendar and say to yourself, "Oh, three more days and I'm due", then you can take your suicidal depression and put it sort of outside yourself, saying, "It'll pass quickly"). Anyway, guys, PMS doesn't hit every woman out there. One size doesn't fit all. The jokes and what-not may fit OmegaMom and her ilk, but the feminist in me has to say, don't tar all woman with my feathers. Hopefully, the bitchiness will pass soon.